SANFORD, Florida – During the days of the territories, the different promotions had a regular circuit of towns that they would run shows. These were towns that they visit weekly. In-between these shows, they would occasionally run what they called Spot Shows. These were towns they might run occasionally, or rarely. Generally, they were a small town and the ring would be setup in a gymnasium or armory and the crowds would be a couple hundred people, sometimes smaller.

On Friday, March 22, 2024, NXT Live ran a show in the Sanford Civic Center in Sanford, Florida. It had all the feel of an old spot show. The Civic Center is a multiple purpose event center, that’s used for weddings, meetings, and different kinds of celebrations. Its seating capacity is 1,200 people, but the setup for this event allowed for about 300 fans. The support crew from WWE was small, with about a dozen people helping with tickets, providing merchandise, and other jobs. The truck that hauled the ring wasn’t even a WWE branded truck, but a rented vehicle.

The Civic Center is an L-shaped building with a garden area in the back, one-door entrances on either side, and limited parking next to the building that’s reserved for staff. There is a public parking area across the street and a sizable field used for park­ing that is directly across from the center. It’s a location you would think a local promo­tion might run, but would be surprised to see a WWE branded show. NXT has run this location before over the last five years, but only a half dozen times.

The sound system made the introductions and promos hard to hear and there were issues with the house lights during the shows, but that added to the quaint, old-time feel of the event. NXT ran a black curtain, which served as an entrance area, in front of the small dressing room area. There was not a bad seat in the house, the chairs only ran five rows, so even if you were in the fifth row you had a great view.

One thing that stood out about the action in the ring was the athleticism. Many of the competitors come from the WWE’s NIL program and have, college level or higher, backgrounds in football, cheerleading, MMA, and other competitive sports. While there were some spots that didn’t come off smooth, these credentialed athletes were able to save a few spots through their athleticism.

Sarah Schreiber served as the host and ring announcer for the show. She pumped the crowd up early and went over some of the featured performers. There were 10 matches on the card, with regular NXT main show talent mixed with NXT Level Up (a YouTube exclusive) talent.

Match 1: Hank and Tank v. Charlie Dempsey and Damon Kent

Tank Ledger and Hank Walker started the show against Dempsey and Kent. Dempsey, the son of William Regal, and Damon a Kent are part of the No Quarter Catch Crew, a faction on NXT programming. It was a good match with Tank Ledger standing out for his charisma, enthusiasm, and incredibly sculpted calves.

Winners: Hank and Tank

Match 2: Duke Hudson v. Unknown

With the sound system issues it was difficult to hear the opponent’s name and I couldn’t identify him on the NXT roster. He wore blue trunks with a house and fence on it. Duke received a large reaction from the crowd who were raising their arms in the air and making the “U” sign with their hands. Throughout the short match, the crowd reacted to every move or facial that Duke did.

Winner: Duke Hudson

Match 3: Kendal Grey and Carlee Bright v. Stevie Turner and Izzi Dame

This was another short match, which was typical of the show. Grey and Bright were noticeably smaller than their opponents. Turner and Dame stood out early with their heel mannerisms and attitude. Dame especially stands out for her size and fierce look. Bright showed great fire in the concluding moments of the match and the crowd got behind her.

Winners: Grey and Bright

Match 4: Lainey Reed v. Sol Ruca

This was a babyface match as they both shook hands before the bell and there was no heel shenanigans. Good action, but short.

Winner: Sol Ruca

Match 5: Dion Lennox and Tavion Heights v. Tyson DuPont and Tyriek Igwe

These were four large, muscular wrestlers. DuPont and Igwe especially stood out with their size and sheer power. When they hit a move, the bump sounded like a bomb going off. Everyone in the match seemed inexperienced, it is an NXT show, but made up for it with athleticism and raw power.

Winners: Tyson and Tyriek

Match 6: Je’Von Evans v. Carmelo Hayes

The crowd was surprised to see Hayes as he was not announced for the show (though he did post on his socials about it ahead of time). He received a strong, but mixed reaction. Chants of “We Want Trick” rang out before the match, but once the match started he received a lot of cheers. The athleticism here was at an elite level. This was the longest and best match on the card. At one point, Hayes and Evans were on the middle rope next to each other and did an incredible Spanish Fly. At another point, Evans got so high on a cross body he nearly went over Hayes’s head.

Winner: Hayes

Hayes did a promo after the match. He was hyping his match with Trick Williams at Stand and Deliver, but it was difficult to hear what he said.


Match 7: Lash Legend, Jakara Jackson, and Lola Vice v. Tatum Paxley, Karem Petro­vic, and Lyra Valkyria

Another good match. Lash Legend stood out for her size and look. She trash talked throughout the match. Lola Vice, who has a legitimate MMA background and is known in the local MMA community for her performances at Combat Night, laid in some punches to Petrovic’s ribs that left noticeable bruises, but were safe. Petrovic also returned the favor later in the match.

Winners: Valkyria, Paxley, and Petrovic

Match 8: Jazmyn Nyx w/ Jacey Jayne v. Wren Sinclair

Sinclair tried to get Nyx to do a high five before the match, but had to jump out of the way of a kick. Later in the match, they revisited this when Nyx had her hands up covering her face and Sinclair, rather than hit her, high fived her and celebrated.

Winner: Nix

Match 9: Lexis King, Javi Bernal, and an unknown v. The Family

The crowd was surprised again, when King came out. He was not announced for the show. The third member of his group was another victim of the sound system and we couldn’t hear his name. He was a very large man. King did some mic work before the match, trying to rile the crowd. Ava Raine came out and interacted with King and then announced his group had a match with the Family. The Family, which is a mob gimmick, received a big pop. This was the second longest match on the card and a lot of fun.

Winners: The Family

Match 10: Oba Femi v. Dante Chen

Dante Chen was recently seen on Smackdown being beaten by Bron Breakker in about 30 seconds. Femi received a big reaction. The crowd had fun early telling Chen
to “run, get him winded” and “that wasn’t smart, Dante” when he’d try to move Femi around unsuccessfully. The match wasn’t very good and probably went too long, but the crowd seemed satisfied with it.

Winner: Femi

Overall, a very entertaining show. The small, intimate atmosphere certainly added to the show. Some of these wrestlers will be in the big arenas soon enough, so it was fun to see them in this spot show learning their trade.

TOP PHOTOS: The outside of the Sanford Civic Center in Sanford, Florida. Photos by Thomas Starr